Your son or daughter just got engaged, and you’ve officially become a MOG or MOB (Mother of the Groom or Mother of the Bride.) Congratulations!
Are you excited or freaking out?
First things first, take a deep breath and remember that you’ve raised them to be responsible, caring adults—even if they don’t always act like it. Before my son’s wedding, his fiancée was struggling with whether or not to wear a veil, and he looked at her and said, “Whatever it’s going to take to make you feel beautiful on our wedding day.” I was pleasantly surprised at his response and realized I wasn’t a total failure as a mother!
Second, it’s easy to get distracted by details, so don’t forget that the wedding is one day, and your child’s marriage is for a lifetime. The wedding is merely an entrance into the new family that is being birthed through you and the in-laws.
Third, marrying your children off can sometimes invoke feelings of grief or loss. It’s good for them to “leave and cleave,” as traditional vows state, but as a parent, especially a mom, the emotion of grief can be real. Don’t discount it, and don’t place the burden on your children. Work it out with your spouse or a close friend.
Before I give you any more advice, let me give you some personal background. I’ve been a wedding planner for over 25 years, and I’ve seen it all. I could write a book—oh, the stories I can tell! I can honestly say that I have never experienced a “Bridezilla!” I have, however, experienced some very difficult moms. So, before my son got married 13 years ago, I asked two friends to hold me accountable and not let me be one of those moms! My daughter got married last year, and you would have to ask her, but I think we worked really well together, and it was a beautiful day.
Here are 10 things you should do as a Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom!
If you don’t already, I highly suggest it. I remember asking God for guidance and to protect my relationship with my adult child. A wedding is sacred, so why not ask God to work out the details? He will give you peace in those crazy moments up ahead.
2. Hire a Wedding Coordinator!
The Wedding Coordinator has your back. He or she is looking out for your best interest. If they are good at what they do, you can sit back and enjoy your day and focus on your child and your family, not whether the cake was delivered! I planned both my son and daughter’s wedding, but on the day of the wedding, I turned everything over to my two dear and trusted friends and was able to be present and enjoy the day and all the blessings.
3. Remind yourself that it is not your wedding.
Don’t get hung up on things you want or would like to include in the day. Be gracious and loving and encourage your child in their plans. If there is something important that you are thinking of, share it, but be willing to let it go. It’s a highly emotional event for everyone; don’t let your emotions hinder your relationship with your child. It’s one day—let it go.
If there is something important that you are thinking of for your child’s wedding, share it, but be willing to let it go.
4. Stay off of Pinterest!
It’s so easy to start comparing and coming up with great ideas. I once had a FOB pull me aside and ask me to keep his daughter off of Pinterest because he couldn’t do one more project!
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
This seems simple, but really! Evaluate everything you spend time and money on and focus on what’s going to matter in 30 years. I can’t tell you the number of favors I have thrown out over the years or the hours spent making them. Use your money strategically. I had a mother who didn’t want to spend the money for the caterer to bring the iced tea and lemonade and was going to ask a friend to go to the grocery store to get it. It’s worth a few extra dollars to minimize the number of vendors you have and the number of people involved in the details.
6. Have a printed timeline with names and phone numbers.
Buffer the day with extra time so you never feel rushed and you have time to just “be!” Take it all in, and remember to smile!
7. Have a list of photographs you want.
Most photographers have a list you can work with, but the internet can provide one for you, too. Go through and list the photos you want and who you want. The photographer can then work through the list; you won’t forget anyone. Ask the other set of parents for their input as well.
8. Lower your expectations and keep focused.
Little things will happen that can rob your joy and give you anxiety, but only if you let them.
Don’t forget that the wedding is one day and your child’s marriage is for a lifetime. The wedding is merely an entrance into the new family that is being birthed through you and the in-laws.
9. Balance spending money with the desired details.
There are plenty of places where you can save money and some details that are worth spending money on to make sure your day goes smoothly. A wedding day can and should be one of the most joyous days in your and your family’s lives. It’s about relationships.
10. Let the day reflect your child and fiancé’s relationship.
Encourage them to include details they truly want and not because someone is telling them they “have to” do something. Just because a friend had a five-course sit-down dinner doesn’t mean they have to. One of the funniest weddings I coordinated in New York City was with food trucks!
Planning a wedding can be a lot of work and sometimes feels like a full-time job. Finances can seem overwhelming. During the planning process, I encourage my brides and grooms to realize that working through the details and navigating the relationship with their parents is laying the groundwork for the rest of their lives. It can be a very positive and rewarding experience. Someday they are going to work through decisions like buying a house, where they are going to celebrate a holiday, etc. As a parent, respect their wishes and give them space. We love them well by loving who they have become and their future spouse, regardless of our personal opinions. Look at the bigger picture: a wedding is one day, a marriage is a lifetime.
Weddings can be hard! Read more here:
4 Things You Need to Know About Pre-Wedding Jitters
Parenting Adult Children—The Great Shift of Motherhood
An Unexpected, Wonderful Moment on Your Son’s Wedding Day
This Is How to Stay Sane in the Wedding Planning Process
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